Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 26, 2013

D.C. District Court Holds Bank Has Right to Record Deed and Deeds of Trust Previously Unrecorded Due to Clerical Error Not Cured By Original Property Owner

By Rafe Serouya

In Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Wrenn, CIV.A. 08-165 (CKK), 2009 WL 1705692 (D.D.C. June 18, 2009), Wrenn purchased property from Stevens, and Wrenn simultaneously entered into a home mortgage loan transaction, pursuant to which she executed two Promissory Notes and two Deeds of Trust. Wells Fargo was the servicer and legal holder of the notes, HSBC the assignee of the notes, and MERS the legal holder of the Deeds of Trust for the benefit of Wells Fargo. There was a clerical error and the Deed from Stevens to Wrenn and the Deeds of Trust were never recorded. Plaintiffs were unable to obtain Stevens’ signature on the necessary recordation forms, and have been unable to record the Deed or Deeds of Trust.

Plaintiffs’ complaint seeks an order to compel Stevens to re-execute the Deed for the proper recordation. Stevens was served with a copy of the complaint, but he failed to timely respond. Plaintiffs wanted to move for entry of default, but could not because Stevens was engage in active military service. Counsel was appointed on behalf of Stevens which eventually revealed that Stevens had ceased his military service. Plaintiffs then filed a Motion for Default Judgment against Stevens and the Court found that “Stevens conveyed the subject property to Wrenn, and that Plaintiffs have the right to record the Deed and the Deeds of Trust. Additionally, Stevens’ failure to timely respond to the complaint resulted in a default judgment entered against him.

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